A Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei has urged the august House to reject the Report of the select Committee on Mines and Energy.
The Old Tafo Constituency MP made this call on the floor of the House after the Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy, Amadu Sorogho had briefed Parliament on the Report, seeking the House’s approval of over Two Billion Cedis (GH 2,631,650,000.00 cedis) for the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to undertake its Activities this year 2016.
Earlier, a Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee, K.T. Hammond had said that ‘I rise to second the motion but with a very heavy heart. Mr Speaker it’s about time that a good eye was kept on GNPC with respect to the way they spend the nation’s money.’
Hon. Hammond also complained that ‘it is becoming difficult for some of us on the Committee, adding that GNPC does not listen, it decides to do whatever it pleases when its mind is made up on any project, they go for it, reiterating that GNPC is wasting the nation’s money.
Dr Akoto Osei (NPP MP) said that ‘we cannot with good conscience pass this Report because the information is not clear, if we approve the Report how can people take parliament serious? ‘Mr Speaker this is a very serious matter, we say we are masters of our own procedures so if the Chairman of the Committee is not happy with the way the Report is being debated in the House, he needs to call the Petroleum Minister for him to clarify certain issues in the report’, the Old Tafo MP entreated to.
‘Mr Speaker my Ranking Member on Energy (Hon. Hammond) is saying that he is supporting the motion with a heavy heart but we should approve it for them. I think after all your spectacular submission, we should reject the report’, Dr Akoto Osei charged the House.
Hon. Sorogho also argued that ‘Mr Speaker I want my Hon. Colleague (Dr Akoto Osei) to read the Report very well. When the Ranking Member (Hon. Hammond) got up, he spoke about the construction of the head office, we have never agreed …. and if you read the Report, it says that the New Office should be consented to’.
The Chairman of the Committee further debated that ‘so I don’t see why he (Old Tafo MP) is making references to the Report and yet not telling us exactly what the Report is conveying. I am saying that we are discussing the work programmed and if you think that there are certain portions which you think are not correct, you are entitled completely to say here and there, can we have a change or can we do this? But for you to be asking me are you happy? Mr Speaker where is it coming from? I am the Chairman who signed the Report and I brought the Report to you, let’s discuss it, and you are asking me this question’.
Mr Speaker ‘when people are given positions, they have to remember that they are representing the people of Ghana, not their own persons, your job is to bring the Report to us and our job is to accept or reject it. Don’t say that I am the Chairman, so what?, Dr Akoto Osei rebutted.
The Old Tafo MP also cautioned that ‘I think Members should look at this (Report) very carefully. Let’s not be emotional, we all want GNPC to be doing well and when it doesn’t (over Two Billion Cedis) make financial sense to us, let’s not say go ahead and approve, it doesn’t help us. I’m saying let’s step it down (Report), call the Minister for Petroleum to ask further questions, when we are satisfied, let’s approve it. I think it makes much more sense than say let’s approve it’.
‘I believe from the debate so far, the House has indicated that it is not comfortable with the Report and approving it is doubtful. So I believe the idea is that when the Petroleum Minister comes, it will be able to erase the doubts from Members’ minds, then the way will be clear for Members to decide on whether to approve the Report or not. I am saying this because I want the Majority Whip and the Chair to convey these sentiments to the Minister so that probably when he is coming he will come with the key people from GNPC because as it has been said the people of this country need to be comfortable with the oversight parliament has over GNPC’, NPP MP for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah also added his voice to the debate.
Having listened carefully to the debate on the Report, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Ebo Barton-Odro inquired that ‘Hon. Members, may I find out from the Chairman of the Committee if it is possible to get the Petroleum Minister to be with you on the next adjourned date because I am not going to put the question now, I will defer it so we have a further debate but I think it will be useful if we could get the Minister himself to be with the Chairman so certain questions can be addressed.’
The Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee (NDC MP for Madina Constituency) answered that ‘Mr Speaker the Petroleum Minister will be around to answer some of the questions so if you don’t put the question I don’t have a problem.’
‘So Hon. Members, at this point in time I will direct that the debate be deferred until further notice and I direct the leadership to programme the Minister for Petroleum to be available for the debate to continue and please furnish him with the answers for today so that he will have the opportunity to read through and get the sentiments of Members generally on the issues that were raised’, the Speaker deferred the debate.